Thursday, August 31, 2006

NHRA Makes a Change for 2007


The NHRA will change its championship format for the 2007 season. Their points system will resemble that of the NASCAR Nextel Cup. With six races left, only eight competitors will be able to win the championship. With two races left, only four will fight for the NHRA season championship.

Looking for any news and/or opinion on the topic, I
found one reviewer of the change who apparently isn’t afraid of telling people against the change (which would include me) how we’re wrong:

“All I can say is unless you were in the top eight to begin with, you have no shot of coming from behind to win it all. Under the current format, no team has ever come back from outside the top eight in points with six races remaining to win the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world championship. This is not the NHRA's way of squashing the hopes and dreams of those competitors that could go on a hot streak at the end and really vie for a championship. If the team is really a championship caliber team, they will already be in the top eight and in a good position to win it outright. Cry baby smaller teams outside the top eight, thanks for playing, we'll see you next year.”


I’ll grant the argument with complete merit, it makes sense, and David Lamm’s not lying about the fact that no one from outside the top eight has ever won with so little time. However, let’s think of this economically… These new close championship fights may continue possibilities of stronger “team orders.” There’s also the complete disregard for a huge lead that may be built up during the beginning of a season by one team. Take for example Greg Anderson the past two seasons. He put a spanking on the pro-stock field, and yet under the rules for next season he would have to give up a whopping 300 point lead to go back to only being 10 points ahead. Economically speaking, this is a sham; essentially the leader is being punished for doing well, while a straggler in 8th place is being rewarded for the opposite. How come no one is addressing that question (which is essentially a question that deals with the sportsmanship behind any race series)?

Also, David Lamm fails to touch on another rule the NHRA made (or didn’t make) that converses on the “small team v. big team” battle. The NHRA capped the team car number to a whopping four. Out of a 16 car field, this obviously means that two teams could take up half the field. And with team orders always being swarmed up in the rumor mill, this could turn out to be quite ugly near the end of a season.

In the end, this decision is probably less about racing than it is about money. Ironically enough
John Force already commented about this type of points system last year:

"I really believe NASCAR screwed up when they created that new rule and I hope NHRA doesn’t do something like that," Force said, "because any guy can get on a roll on the last day. They’ve got all these races left in NASCAR and some of the best guys are out and they could have got on a roll and been there. I don’t believe the fan’s being treated fair. They did it for a reason. I don’t really know why."

Right now, not many other people know why either. But economically speaking, the only good reason for doing something like this would be more money.
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